A hundred greenbacks is a respectable chunk of change, but when it comes to personal electronics like the ultrapersonal smartphone, $100 on contract (before taxes and fees) is a darn good deal. Since the smartphone operating system remains the same across handsets from the most entry-level to the most premium, what a price hike usually gives you is a step up in features — like LTE or wireless charging support, a faster processor, and more-premium camera components, for example.
Here are some of today’s top picks for carriers with two-year contracts — I’ll give T-Mobile phones their own roundup, since the carrier has just switched over to no-contract plans. Smartphone prices fluctuate all the time because of slow sales or short-term promotions, so keep your eyes peeled for more deals.
HTC One (Sprint); released April 19, 2013
You’d never expect a fantastic flagship like the HTC One to sell for $100, half its full retail sticker price, but right now, Sprint is proving its commitment to customers who might otherwise flee to more LTE-rich pastures. The One has a stunning visual design, a strong camera, and one of the fastest processors available anywhere. On top of that, its external speakers put other phones to shame. Read the full HTC One review.